Bahamas + 15 more

Pan American Disaster Response Unit Appeal No. 05AA040 Programme Update No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published


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In Brief

Period covered: 1 June to 30 November 2005;

Appeal coverage: 66%;

Outstanding needs: CHF 689,002 (USD 532,716 or EUR 444,127).

Appeal target: CHF 2,061,935 (USD 1,594,203 or EUR 1,329,113)

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Caribbean: Hurricanes Dennis and Emily (05EA014), El Salvador: Floods and Volcanic Activity (05EA020), Central America: Floods from Hurricane Stan (05EA021), Bahamas, Cuba and Mexico: Hurricane Wilma (05EA024); Caribbean Annual Appeal (05AA041); Central America Annual Appeal (05AA043); South America Annual Appeal (05AA044) Programme summary: During the reporting period, most of the work of the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) was focused on responding to one of the most active and destructive hurricane seasons the region has known. The 2005 Hurricane Season saw a total of 26 named storms, eight of which made landfall in the Central America and Caribbean regions. PADRU worked with the affected National Societies to provide immediate response in the wake of these disasters, which included appealing for funds from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) and deploying disaster management experts to the field. Four emergency appeals were launched in response to hurricanes to assist some 171,000 affected families in the 10 worst affected countries: Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Nicaragua. In addition, PADRU responded to a number of other emergencies, including volcanic eruptions in Colombia and El Salvador, fl oods in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, earthquakes in Chile and Peru, drought in Paraguay and fire and social unrest in Bolivia. PADRU continued its on-going work in the area of disaster response preparedness, strengthening the Regional Intervention Teams (RITs), supporting the development of contingency and disaster response plans within the National Societies of the Americas and encouraging National Society staff to carry out internships within PADRU, promoting exchanges and information-sharing.

Operational developments

During the reporting period, the primary focus of the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) was emergency response to a number of disasters in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The majority of the disaster response operations are associated with the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which was one of the fiercest on record. PADRU has also been working to improve disaster response capacity in areas such as logistics and disaster preparedness, including provision of support for the implementation of a DIPECHO funded disaster preparedness project in the Caribbean.

Of the 26 named storms of the 2005 hurricane season, eight impacted 16 countries in the Caribbean and Central and North America. Hurricanes Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma, Beta and Gamma caused serious material and economic damages in the affected countries and killed and injured numerous people. The Federation's disaster response system in the Americas provided assistance to thousands of families affected by these storms. In Guatemala alone the Red Cross is assisting 6,400 families with distributions of food, water and relief items, and provision of first aid, psychosocial support and family linking services.

In a period of just four months, the Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit sent 23 shipments of humanitarian assistance from Panama to affected countries; 15 by air, 5 by land and 3 by sea. Shipments included plastic sheeting, blankets, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, mosquito nets, first aid kits and water purification tablets. Other essential relief items were also sent to the region by sister Red Cross Societies. PADRU also provided vehicles t hr ough the Federation's vehicle leasing programme, and personnel specialized in disaster management, water and sanitation, logistics and communicationst o support the National Societies in carrying out their emergency response operations. In total, more than 200 experts from all over the world provided support to the National Societies affected by hurricanes in 2005. PADRU coordinated this large-scale effort by making available its database of t rained members of the Regional Intervention Teams and coordinating the deployment of its members, both directly t o the fiel d and to support the unit in Panama.

In addition to the hurricanes, PADRU provided assistance to National Societies affected by other emergencies, such as landslides that hit Guatemala in June and July, and flooding in El Salvador in June. In Costa Rica, PADRU supported the Costa Rican Red Cross' relief effort following heavy rains in September, and in El Salvador PADRU assisted the National Society in monitoring and responding to volcanic activity in the Ilamatepec volcano in October. In South America, PADRU supported the Chilean Red Cross' relief effort after an earthquake hit the northern region of the country in June, and supported the Bolivian Red Cross in response to social unrest in June and fires in September. PADRU also provided assistance to the Paraguayan Red Cross in its response to persistent drought affecting the Chaco region.

PADRU continued strengthening its cooperation with the United Nations system, as well as with the European Union. In mid 2005 PADRU received a programmatic funding from ECHO through a programme which seeks to strengthen the Caribbean National Societies and Overseas Branches. The Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECI) has also provided funding for PADRU activities. PADRU continues its on-going initiatives to build the Caribbean telecommunications network and to work in collaboration with Ericsson Response in the area of communications and to promote the use of the warehouse established in the Colón Free Zone. The RITs network has been strengthened with a workshop organized in the Caribbean, together with the holding of a logistics workshop for the region. At the same time, PADRU's work to support the National Societies in the Americas in contingency and response plans is on-going.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Panama: Alexandre Claudon, Acting Head of Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama; email, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email, phone (41 22) 730-4535, fax (41 22) 733-0395

This Programme Update reflects activities to be implemented over a one-year period. This forms part of, and is based on, longer-term, multi-year planning (refer below to access the detailed logframe documents). All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

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